Understanding a Wrongful Death Case
The loss of a loved one can bring financial and emotional hardship to a grieving family. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act (768.16) provides you an opportunity to secure economic recovery in the wake of your family’s loss.
Dealing with the Death of A Loved One Caused by Someone’s Negligence
Compensation may be available to address the loss of household income, funeral expenses and even your emotional suffering. Florida’s statute of limitations provides you just two years in which to take action after an accident. Prompt action typically provides the best opportunity to secure a fair settlement.
We understand how overwhelming this situation can be for the bereaved, and you may have many questions about the legal process. Below, you will find information about your family’s legal options.
What constitutes a wrongful death?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as a fatality caused by a party’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”
A wrongful death may be caused by an intentional act, a negligent act or a breach of duty. For example, wrongful death may arise when a person intentionally pushes another person down a flight of stairs, a driver exceeds the speed limit or a manufacturer creates a defective product.
Who can recover damages in a wrongful death action in Florida?
Section 768.20 of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act outlines the eligible parties in a wrongful death action. The Act specifies that the deceased victim’s personal representative must bring about the action. This person recovers damages on behalf of the victim’s survivors. This may include:
- minor children;
- parents; and
- blood relatives or adoptive siblings (when these parties were dependent on the deceased victim).
Children born out of wedlock may claim damages, provided the deceased was financially supportive of the child in some manner.
What must I prove in a wrongful death action?
You must prove the elements of a wrongful death. This means demonstrating:
- the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased;
- the defendant committed an act that was negligent, wrongful, intentional or a breach of a conduct;
- the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of injury or death; and
- the defendant’s actions would have entitled the deceased to bring about an injury lawsuit for damages, had he or she not passed away.
You must provide substantial evidence to support your claim and draw a clear connection between the defendant’s actions and your loved one’s death.
What damages are available in a Florida wrongful death action?
Section 768.21 of the Florida Wrongful Death Act outlines the damages available in a wrongful death claim. Damages include:
- loss of household income (including loss of future earnings);
- loss of companionship and protection;
- mental pain and anguish;
- loss of parental guidance and companionship;
- medical expenses accrued prior to death; and
- funeral costs.
A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim and the potential damages available. Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer from Chalik & Chalik to learn more if your loved one was killed by another’s negligence. Call (855) 529-0269.